Mike Airhart made a great point in the comments of the article about Dr. Austin.

XGW did not decide Austin was guilty; a Texas jury did…

David Roberts made another interesting observation.

I continue to be amazed at the Svengali like ability Mr. Austin seems to have over some people.

As a former client, I have some thoughts I would like to present regarding Dr. Austin’s conviction. First, I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with therapy under his care. People are consistently amazed by the perseverance and grace I’ve demonstrated during and after my marriage to Tdub. I say this not to boast, but as a direct compliment to Dr. Austin, who was instrumental in bringing me to such a place. He helped me maintain that demeanor over the course of several years; he is a gifted therapist.

However, I’ve come to realize that Dr. Austin is a very confused man, and I wonder privately if there may be more going on there. I’ll not make any wild claims about his state of mind, but I’ve seen the “Svengali” at work over a long period of time, and I’ve been friends or acquainted with many of his ex-gay clients. Our home was once a popular location for the ex-gay barbecues we sometimes joke about here at XGW. Because of those sorts of relationships, formed outside the realm of the counseling center, I was privy to a bit more of the inner-workings and dynamics of the group. I believe Dr. Austin is a master manipulator; gifted therapist, most definitely – master manipulator, unfortunately so.

It’s taken me quite some time to believe it, but the final “nail in the coffin” came after the break-up of my marriage to Tdub. One of our first concerns was appropriate therapy for our sons. We initially believed that Dr. Austin would be a good choice to help the boys through the transition of our family break-up as well as Tdub’s coming out. This is when we began to learn just how manipulative he had been. For reasons I won’t detail, and by people I won’t name, we were strongly cautioned against allowing our boys to enter therapy with him. We received this information from individuals with first-hand experience, and telling us placed them at great personal risk by also divulging their dalliances with Dr. Austin. To my knowledge, none of these particular indiscretions have been part of any of the trials or investigations to date.

I think it important to realize that one’s experience and level of trust with a man like Dr. Austin can only be used to evaluate one’s own relationship with him. It says nothing about his overall capability for damaging the lives of others. I personally have nothing against him. Even Dr. Austin’s extremely unorthodox practices, detailed in Part II of my series on ex-gay therapy, weren’t harmful to me. On the other hand, the fact that he pushed the boundaries of whatever guidelines may exist, either written or unwritten, among ex-gay therapists, certainly doesn’t improve my view of him at this point. The bottom line is this; I’m not going to abandon common sense and sound reason just because I wasn’t victimized by him myself.

If by some incredible long shot Dr. Austin was wrongly convicted, I feel confident he’ll be fine. He did, after all, instruct me in all sorts of Biblical truth which continues to sustain me during desperate times. I wish him Godspeed, either way.

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